Pedants and Linkware

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  • Apache
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All are free for me to download, install and use for as long as I wish. They all, crucially for the subject of my rant, also have no stipulations on my having to credit them. None. In fact, look at Apache and mySQL – no requirement to say you use them but hosts do as it is a mark of quality. I diverge ..

There are people who will happily argue the toss over the GPL / GNU and other ‘free’ agreements – yet these same people will offer what they have as something else entirely: Linkware.

Linkware is not freeware. If it’s genuinely free, then there should be no obligations upon the user – yet asking for a link is placing such an obligation there isn’t it ? It’s imposing a condition.

The other oddity I noted was that it’s the visuals people who do this mainly, not the coders. Why ? I have no idea about the motivations involved, but looking at plugins, I can’t recall a ‘linkware’ type requirement. Looking at tutorial sites – mine included – I can’t see such a thing either. Is this linkware necessity the domain of the designers ? Odd that it would be, given that unless a site works there is nothing to see.
Have I anything against linkware ? No, not at all – just so long as it is labelled as such. In this pedantic age of things needing to be seen for what they are, I don’t see why any contributions should not be studied and then classified according to their terms. An author cannot possibly have a problem with that can they ?

16 thoughts on “Pedants and Linkware

  1. I possibly know what you’re referring to here…

    I think the problem is a lot of people don’t understand the licensing issues. If you want to produce something under ‘linkware’ then go and get a Creative Commons license which has attribution activated. Otherwise it could be considered impolite – but you don’t really have a leg to stand on. And yes, I agree it’s the visuals where this problem crops up – probably because they’ve had no real exposure to software licensing issues that coders need to consider.

  2. Gary – it’s multiple sources though yes I know where you are thinking of. What actually set this off was following some links from the WP forum to sites I’d helped out on, and I came across a squabble about skins. Either way, it’s licensing that maybe needs to be clearer – and it’s for authors to do that not users.
    I can be as pedantic as hell – link ? No problem – it’ll either be set with CSS for no display, or in a font 4px high and/or set to match the bg colour. I would FULLY satisfy the linkware requirement would I not ?

    cjp – better red than Redmond ;)

  3. The reason so many designers want a credit link is that most of us are coming from a different place, culturally — we don’t for the most part have a massive ideological commitment to Open Source, and we like to have our creativity and hard work acknowledged. Would you have a problem with an artist putting a signature to their work? Yes, it drives traffic to our sites, but I like to think it’s also a service for people wanting templates, who might come across a blog, think ‘hey, I like that template’, and then be able to go straight to the site and get it themselves. Hence I license my html templates under a CC license and define them as linkware. (I don’t have the same licence for stylesheets because I think demanding that people add a link is fundamentally different from demanding that they not remove it.)

    It also saddens me that you advocate making the link invisible; if you think a linkware requirement is ‘silly’ and ‘pedantic’, fair enough, don’t use the template. Nobody is forcing you. People who honestly think one visible link is too high a price to pay are welcome to put the time and effort into sourcing their own images and learning to code their own xhtml and css. You’ve done that, but I worry that not everyone reading this will.

  4. t a s – I don’t advocate hiding a link. I was trying to point out – and doing my usual poor job – that there do indeed exist licences for people’s work and that at least they have a full framework behind them. Saying “My work is free, OSS etc etc but you MUST give a link” is not acceptable – licence it, be clear about it, let the consumer know what the terms are clearly.

    I have no problem at all with linking – look at the base of the page – but I do have a problem when a product is said to be one thing but is actually another.

    I also think that yes, designers should be linked but as I said, clearly licence this so that even at a casual glance a consumer can make a judgement about linkage – some people can be very precious about it. If nothing else, it would bug me if I continually got emails about a design if I had not done it

    Clarity. That was what I was getting at :)

  5. I wandered over here from the support forums and saw this and had to comment. It’s kind of funny because I have this same go-round with a lot of people that I collaborate with doing graphic editting and webpage design and sometimes the sheer lack of ignorance among them all is enough to boil my insides. I totally agree with you 100%. Saying something is one thing but really meaning it’s another – and sometimes stubbornly disagreeing that you’re wrong – really needs to be defined better.

    And I thought you were perfectly clear (though I am pretty notorious for talking around myself so perhaps it’s only me).

  6. link ? No problem – it’ll either be set with CSS for no display, or in a font 4px high and/or set to match the bg colour.

    Can you see how I might have misread that as suggesting that people conceal the linkbacks?

    I am with you on clarity of licensing, though. Before slapping a CC licence on my stuff I made damn sure I knew what the licence involved and that it was suitable for my purposes. You can’t release anything under the GPL and then complain about not being credited. It’s the price you pay for having your code eligible to be included in the WP core. :wink:

  7. t a s – I can, yes, but I was digging at someone who says “You must link me !”
    If that, and that alone is the requirement, then doing what I suggested would satisfy that – and annoy the creator. And if creators then insert links and say you must leave this untouched, it WILL be removed by people when the presentation of that link does not suit their site. In such a case, the creator is asking for problems. Then of course, they will have emails from people saying “Can it be pink not black text” or “Can I put the link on another page” and a variety of other stuff that I would imagine will get old very fast.

    And all this because there wasn’t enough clarity.

    Choose a licence, write your docs, release. Or not. I don’t care either way, but it’s a mess right now with some stuff.

  8. Hmm funny you should pu this up, erm, did I have something to do with it? Well I think you might also be refering to Michael’s comments, however I will say that I only mentioned something because people were crediting me their entire site :).

    But I will tell you why ‘designers’ like to do this. It’s part of ‘our’ culture to tag things. An artist will sign his piece of artwork, and a small link seen from the eyes of a design person, is in fact a small thing, and a signature of work. Nothing more.

    I can completely understand where you’re coming from. You’re right, I have no idea who coded php or xammp, or filezilla etc, but I know Everlado the icon designer of KDE. You can see the difference straight away in my priorities.

    Now I’ve started thinking about it and maybe I should just rethink my comment and just say, if you want to keep a link as a thank you, go for it, here’s what to do, otherwise don’t worry about it… it’s GPL….

  9. Hi Khaled :)

    It’s not just Michael’s comments. Yes, I saw the entry but no I did not read all the comments. At the time, and having seen a default 1.5 install I felt he had a point. But that was one blog with one issue. I then came across some more impassioned stuff between other bloggers – and it just struck me as odd.
    I’m not going to get into individual bits – it was never about that – and I agree again about the displaying of a credit (it was never a requirement that Gemini be credited but I did, and that credit will remain despite the site not being there) and if I used another template I would credit that as well.

    Licensing has to be the way forward.

  10. … and Guestblock!!! :D

    I see what you mean about the enforcing of links. I’ll include the link stuff for guestblock in my releases but I’m thinking of removing the compulsory nature of it (as stated in the installation). It’s not like I can be bothered to enforce that either.

    The only thing I would be bothered about would be if someone passed he work of as their own.

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